January 25th, 2010
11:36 AM ET
13 years ago

South Carolina Lt. Gov. compares poor to 'stray animals'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/26/andrebauer.jpg caption="South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is running for governor this year."](CNN) – South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer isn't backing away from controversial remarks he made over the weekend comparing needy people to "stray animals."

Bauer, who is one of several candidates seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination, said Friday that providing government food assistance to lower-income residents - things like food stamps or free school lunches - encourages a culture of dependence.

"My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals," Bauer told an audience in the town of Fountain Inn, according to the Greenville News. "You know why? Because they breed."

"You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply," Bauer continued. "They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that. And so what you've got to do is you've got to curtail that type of behavior. They don't know any better."

Bauer said recipients of government assistance should undergo drug testing or be forced to attend parent-teacher conferences, or else lose their benefits.

His comments drew rebukes from rival candidates in both parties along with political and community leaders around the state. Responding to the uproar, Bauer told South Carolina reporters over the weekend that he could have chosen his words more carefully.

But he stood by his basic premise.

"Yes, I believe government is 'breeding a culture of dependency' which has grown out of control, and frankly, amounts to little more than socialism, paid for by hard-working, tax-paying families … against their wishes," Bauer said in an e-mail to supporters on Sunday.

Bauer wrote that the government has an obligation to help people in need, but, he said, "there's a big difference between being truly needy and truly lazy."

"We must find ways to instill some sense of responsibility or consequence into those who are now a part of the cycle of automatic hand-outs," he said in the e-mail. "Generational welfare is bad for the people on it and bad for the state of South Carolina."

Filed under: 2010 • Andre Bauer • South Carolina
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. Linda Braun

    As "Kate" said, most of you are so ignorant about the effects of Welfare Reform implemented in the 90's by the Clinton Administration.
    1) Aid lasts a maximum of 5 years, and
    2) Once a woman goes on welfare, she gets NO MORE MONEY FOR MORE KIDS; same check no matter how many kids she subsequently has, and this is carefully explained to them.
    3) The govt. chases down the fathers of these kids, if possible, and garnishes their wages for child support!

    "Christian" conservatives make me SICK.

    January 25, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  2. kyle

    I've said it a million times. We already have socialism, so what is all of the fuss about in the health care debate. We have turned a blind eye to 18 to 25 year old women who flood our hospitals and emergency rooms with a baby in the oven and no way to pay for it. These dead beat dads are at home fulfilling their masculine tendencies to drink beer and watch football while their wives are giving birth – paid for by society everyday and in every city. Texas holds the record for unwed teenage mothers. Texas also holds the record for the most uninsured children. There is one good reason for this and that is that we are subsidizing the country of Mexico's overpopulation. We are also subsidizing the Catholic church's dogma against birth control. The church needs more money from more people to build more churches to spread the word of no to contraception. Heterosexuals need to stop their moral outrage at homosexual couples and turn an objective eye back onto themselves.

    January 25, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Kevin Collins

    I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, and I totally agree with the guy. He had the guts to spell out the truth, and career-welfare people - both Republicans and Democrats - should take heed. Clinton bravely enacted welfare reform, and so should this presidency.

    January 25, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  4. Leigh

    No surprising at all. When the constitution of the State of South Carolina states that every child will receive a "minimally adequate education" is it shocking that the number of their residents living at or below the poverty line is so high?

    But this is what sells in Southern politics. The perpetual myth of the "welfare queen" and how the poor are ripping off the rich, white people.

    January 25, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Dustin

    The tought that only people who are lazy, worthless and looking for a handout will benefit from ideas like Healthcare reform and a public option is frankly insulting.

    The people who are up in arms against these policies are the people who have not been through the hell that the current system puts you through financially when you get ill and are unfortunate enough to have a poor policy or a crooked agency that denies the most basic of claims.

    This country is doomed if we cannot agree that helping your fellow neighbor is worth more than that lexus that you have in your driveway.

    January 25, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  6. James

    That comment would be best describe the politicians of both parties in general: Live on government salary while setting pension benefits and then after working a few years, collect it all the while complaining about those in needs are called "stray animals."

    Sad how sad.
    The problem stems from education because many schools have not taught financial literacy to understand how economics of choices are made everyday.

    January 25, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Will

    I'm so glad I work 50+ hours a week to pay the crack head down the street to have more children.

    January 25, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. chuck

    How can anyone defend generation after generation after generation of welfare recipients. At some point you have to consider that we have bought ourselves a sour pickle.

    January 25, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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